About 150 people gathered at the University of Miami yesterday to watch the commencement ceremony of the latest Project Vacant Streets class, and Jim Heins of Latin Burger was on hand to provide a case study of his success with the program.
Project Vacant Streets, founded by Frank Kelly, is a six-week program designed to help homeless people gain the practical skills and motivation needed to find employment and get off the streets for good.
Students, mostly residents of Community Partnership for the Homeless facilities, meet Saturday mornings. They learn interviewing techniques, grooming tips, and job skills. The final class includes real interviews with local companies.
Latin Burger's Heins is a believer in the program. His employee Tafari Dunn is a graduate of Project Vacant Streets, and he just hired recent grad Bruce Carter.
Says Heins: "I've been pretty fortunate in my opportunities. Somewhere along the line, I've been helped. I'm not expecting these people to retire with Latin Burger. It's just a stepping stone in their lives."
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Tonight's BTTR roundup, located near Johnson & Wales University on Biscayne Boulevard at 127th Street, features almost three dozen trucks, live music, green space to lay down a blanket, and plenty of parking parking. An ATM is nearby in case you're short on cash. Trucks serving dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m. are:
Sugar Yummy Mama
Slow Food Truck
Dim Ssäm à Gogo
Chef on 4 Wheels
Giuseppe's Italian Sausage
Aaron's Catering Express
The Flying Saucer
Mr. Good Stuff